ControversiesPolitics and Philosophy in our Time
Alain Badiou was born in 1937 in Rabat and Jean-Claude Milner in 1941 in Paris. They were both involved in the "Red Years" at the end of the Sixties and both were Maoists, but while Badiou was focusing all his attention on China, Milner was already taking his distance from it. Over the years, that original dispute over the destiny of gauchisme was fueled by deep, new differences between them concerning the role of philosophy and politics. In this wide-ranging and compelling dialogue, these two great thinkers explore the role of politics in today's world and consider the need for a formal theory of communist political organization. Whether they are addressing the era of revolutions, and in particular the Paris Commune and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, or discussing the infinite, the universal, the name "Jew", violence, capitalism, the left, or Europe, Jean-Claude Milner's dyed-in-the-wool skepticism constantly runs up against Alain Badiou's doctrinal passion.This extraordinary debate ultimately leads to new areas of interrogation and shows that there is no better remedy for the crushing power of media-influenced thinking than the revival of the great disputes of the mind.
Foreword: “Unreconciled” by Philippe Petit1 An original dispute2 Considerations on the revolution, law, and mathematics3 The infinite, the universal, and the name “Jew”4 The right, the left, and France in generalPostscriptNotesBibliographyIndex of Names
"Badiou has established himself as both one of the last great master thinkers of the twentieth-century, and as the author of a powerfully new ontology capable of opening twenty-first century thought beyond the anthropomorphism of phenomenology and the social sciences. This volume, which is a genuine dialogue, profoundly enriches our understanding of Badiou's thought. The work of Jean-Claude Milner is perhaps the best possible foil and counter-thrust to the mastery of Badiou's philosophy. The topics here range from the most abstract to the most acutely political, and provoke thought even for those not interested in the minutiae of contemporary French thought."Claire Colbrook, Penn State University"What a refreshing change from the regurgitated consensual discussions that pass for political discourse in our media and intellectual life."Morning Star "The book is a brilliant demonstration of philosophical rigour over the usual 'philosophy as blood-sport.'" Political Studies Review
Alain Badiou was Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and is one of the most widely read and influential philosophers writing today. Jean-Claude Milner is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the Université de Paris-VII, and a former director of the Collège Internationale de Philosophie (1998-2001).
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